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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Pork – That’s What’s For Breakfast Lunch And Dinner

Pork - That's What's For Breakfast Lunch And DinnerThe Washington Post wrote an article in October of 2014 about the Tudor Place that housed 6 generations from 1816 to 1983.

Tudor Place became one of the first 70 U.S. properties designated a “National Historic Landmark” in 1960, when the designation was created.

Tudor Place

Image Credit: City Profile

Tudor Place in Georgetown Heights (Washington D.C.) was built by Martha Washington’s granddaughter, Martha Curtis Peter and her husband.

Residents of Tudor Place had a small smoke-house that all 6 generations relied on to smoke their meats.

Can you guess what meat they smoked most often, and ate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? If you guessed “Pork,” you guessed correctly.

When touring the residence, you are able to see displayed, a cookbook that served 6 generations providing the kitchen cooks with recipes that only included pork as the main ingredient.

The Washington Post wrote stating that communications officer for Tudor Place, Mandy Katz says that pork was on the dinning table 3 times a day.

Smokehouse at Tuder Place

Preservation Manager Jessica Zullinger and staff tour newly restored Smokehouse – Image Credit: tuderplace.org

The small smoke-house we made mention of was never on the tour of Tudor Place. But it was renovated and became part of the tour on the 23rd of October 2014.

The newly added structure to the Tudor Place tour was celebrated with, yes you guessed – pork. Little smokies and pulled pork sliders to be exact.

This year, 2016 is Tudor Place Bicentennial. You can read and learn more about Tudor Place by linking here: Tudor Place – America’s Story Lives Here.

Our featured recipes include pork, and they are…

  1. Smoked Bacon Golden Beets and Kale Hash
  2. Orange Ginger Pork Meatball Soup
  3. Stuffed And Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin Chops with Brown Sugar And Spice Glazed Carrots

Smoked Bacon Golden Beets and Kale HashSmoked Bacon Golden Beets and Kale Hash

2 strips of smoked bacon per serving, cut into 1-inch slices

1 medium golden beet, shredded

1/2 cup kale, remove leafy parts from steam, leaves torn bite size

Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until just done. Next add beets, stir in, and cook 1 minute more. Add kale and stir in just until wilted. Plate and serve.

Orange Ginger Pork Meatball Soup

1 lb. ground pork

2 green onions

Orange Ginger Pork Meatball Soup3 clove garlic, minced

1 piece (1-inch) peeled fresh ginger, finely chopped

4-5 teaspoons of orange zest

4 cups vegetable broth

8 oz. snow peas, cut into thirds at an angle

1 cup of cooked brown rice

1 cup cooked black beans

Arrange oven rack 6 inches from broiler heat source. Preheat broiler on high. Line large rimmed baking sheet with foil.

In a medium bowl, combine pork, green onions, garlic, ginger, orange zest, and 1/2 teaspoon each of Himalayan salt and fresh ground pepper (both optional). Form pork mixture into bite-size meatballs (about 1 inch each).  Arrange in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Broil 5 to 7 minutes, or until browned.

Meanwhile, in covered 5-quart sauce pot, heat broth to simmering on high. Once the broth is simmering, add snow peas, rice, beans and cooked meatballs. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 5 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through and snow peas are tender.

Stuffed And Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin Chops With Brown Sugar And Spice Glazed Carrots

1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

Stuffed and Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin Chops with Brown Sugar and Spice Glazed Carrots1 teaspoon dried thyme

3/4 teaspoon dried minced garlic

1/4 cup butter, milted

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt (optional)

1/4 teaspoon black pepper (optional)

1 pound pork loin chops, thin cut

8 slices smoked bacon

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 pound carrots, sliced down the middle and cut into 2 inch slices

Heat oven to 400 degrees

Mix sugar and spices in a small bowl and set aside.

Spread some cream cheese on one side of chops. Sprinkle on some sugar-spice mix. Roll chops and wrap with one slice of bacon. Use a tooth pick or two to hold in place.

Arrange prepared chops into a 13 X 9 inch glass baking dish.

Next add melted butter to sugar-spice mix, and incorporate.  Add cut carrots to a 13 X 9 glass baking dish and mix in sugar-spice.

Roast both prepared baking dishes for 30 minutes, or until pork is cook.

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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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Coffee-Grinding Tips and Facts

Coffee-Grinding Tips and Facts

 

The debate over whole beans versus ground beans will probably never be resolved. Here are some tips and facts about various kinds of grinds and the best use of each, and the pros and cons to using whole beans and using ground coffee.

1. Whole Beans – Pros and Cons

Whole coffee beans hold their flavor longer, because the essential oils within the bean are not exposed to air. Also grinding the coffee beans yourself, results in a fresher more flavorful cup of coffee. Whole beans also have a much longer shelf life, about ten times longer than pre-ground coffee, possibly making whole beans more economical.

Another advantage to whole beans is that you can choose the coarseness of the grind, depending on the results you’re aiming for. You will have to purchase a coffee grinder, though, and it will increase your preparation time.

2. Ground Coffee – Pros and Cons

As soon as coffee beans are ground, their essential oils, where the flavor and aroma are, become airborne. That’s why it smells so good! So naturally, those essential oils floating around in the air are not making it into your cup. Consequently, pre-ground coffee tends to be less fresh and flavorful.

If you tend to consume coffee quickly, however, pre-ground may work for you – sources say you have about nine days for ground coffee to retain its freshness after it’s opened. And of course, pre-ground coffee is faster to make and more convenient.

3. Grinding Coffee

How you grind your coffee makes a difference in how it tastes. Here are some tips to consider:

* How finely you grind your coffee determines its strength – finely-ground beans will yield a more concentrated, stronger flavor.

howtofrenchpress

Making Coffee with a French Press

* Coarse grinds work best for a press-style pot or French press.

 

* A medium grind works for the typical drip coffee maker, but within the medium grind range there are subtle differences that depend on the kind of filter you use.

* Fine grinds do well with espresso machines, and can often be used in drip makers too.

* Extra fine is solely for espresso, as are super-fine grinds. Super-fine can also be used in a Turkish coffee maker.

4. Alternative Brewing

boiled greek coffee

Boiled Greek Coffee

There are some interesting ways that coffee is brewed in various cultures and parts of the world. In Indonesia, coffee is brewed a bit like tea – hot water is poured over the grounds in the cup, and the coffee grounds slowly settle to the bottom while the coffee steeps and cools. If you use a very fine grind for this method, you’ll end up with what is known in the Middle East as “mud coffee.”

In Nordic countries and some Middle Eastern countries, coffee is sometimes boiled. This results in a bitterer brew.

Whether you buy whole beans or pre-ground, coffee is a more versatile beverage than you may have realized!

 

Image Credit:

Making Coffee with a French Press

Boiled Greek Coffee

 

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Pad Thai Noodles with Chicken

Pad-Thai-Noodles-with-ChickenAll Asian food is cooked with the intention of increasing the health benefits, such as its healing powers and medicinal value, as well as longevity.

Here’s an article we publish this year last March 2014, Amazing Ways Food is Used in Thai Cooking .

Of course every country that is part of the Asian world has their own way of cooking the food, but with the same outcome, its health benefits.

Today we present Pad Thai Noodles with Chicken. Of all the Asian foods, Thai is our favorite.

Here is what you will need:

ingredients-for-Pad-Thai-Noodles-with-Chicken8 oz. rice noodles, fresh or dried

2 tbsp. peanut oil

scallions, coarsely chopped

2 garlic gloves, minced fine

2 fresh red chilies, seeded and sliced

8 oz. chicken breast, trimmed and thinly sliced

Juice of 1 lime

2 tbsp. Thai fish sauce

2 eggs, beaten

1/3 cup fresh bean sprouts

¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro

1/3 cup chopped unsalted peanuts

Soak the noodles in a large pot of boiling water, covered for 10 minutes or cooked according to package instructions. When the noodles are done and tender, rinse noodles under cold running water. Set aside.place-rice-noodles-into-boiling-water-for-10-minutes.jpgAdd peanut oil to a wok (large frying pan, if you have no wok )over high heat. Once the peanut oil is heated add scallions, garlic and red chilies. Stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes.heat-peanut-oil-and-add-vegetables-and-stir-fry-1-2-minutesNext add the chicken, lime juice, fish sauce and eggs. Stir-fry over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until eggs have set and pink is no longer in chicken or heated through.add-chicken-lime-juice-fish-sauce-and-eggs...stir-fry-2-3-minutesNext add the bean sprouts, most of the cilantro and the noodles and stir-fry for 30 seconds or until heated through and beans and cilantro are mixed in thoroughly.adding-bean-sprouts-and-cilantroTransfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with peanuts and remaining cilantro and serve right away with lime wedges if you wish.Pad-Thai-Noodles-with-Chicken

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Green Beans and Egg Salad

Green Beans and Egg Salad

Green beans contain the trace minerals magnesium, potassium, and calcium all which are needed for heart function. They also contain some of the B-vitamins, which are needed to help absorb other vital vitamins like A and C. Believe it or not, green beans contain fat. One cup of fresh beans have 4.5 % of your daily need for omega-3 fatty acids.

Eggs of course are a great source of protein.

Onions reduce inflammation and heal infections. They contain chromium, which assists in regulating blood sugar and raw onions produce good cholesterol (HDL), which is heart healthy.

Knowing all of that should start your day off right. It may not be your ordinary breakfast, but than again what is ordinary now days.

Here is what you will need for the featured recipe:

2 lbs. green beans

1/2 yellow or white onion

4 eggs, hard-boiled*

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tbsp. wine vinegar

1 tsp. salt

Trim green beans and snap or cut into 1-inch lengths and steam them for 3 to 5 minutes.  Put egg through a egg slicer twice, turning 90 degrees, or chop with a knife.

Slice onion, cut slices in half.

Place steamed green beans, chopped eggs, and sliced onions into a large mixing bowl. It is optional to add olive oil, vinegar, and salt. Toss together mixed together.

Plate and serve. It makes about 4 servings.

*Best way to hard boil eggs: Place eggs in pot of water. Bring to a boil, turn off heat source, place lid on sauce pan, remove pot from burner and let eggs set in hot boiled water till cooked hard, about 7 to 10 minutes. Drain off hot water and plunge eggs into ice water while they are still hot to prevent the greenish, grey ring from forming around the yolk. Make sure to keep the water ice cold while the eggs are cooling down.

 

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Traditional Mexican Sopes

Traditional Mexican sope header

The traditional sope is a recipe from Mexico. Through out Mexico (depending on the reign) sopes are prepared, using local ingredients and adding salsas and toppings, resulting in great regional variety.

The distinctive characteristic of the sope is the pinched sides. Though there are also flat sopes resembling a thick tortilla or a tostada. The most common variation of the sope involves simply adding meat, the most common being chicken and is known as the  “sope de pollo”. In the northern regions of Mexico, sopes are often prepared without vegetables, and substituting meat for black beans.

Here is our version of the Traditional Mexican Sope and what you will need:

For the base you will need

1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour

2 cup masa (corn) flour (you can find this in the Latin section of your market or a local Latin Market)

1 cup warm water

kneading flour, corn masa and water together

Place flour and masa in large bowl, and mix together. Make a well in center of flour mix and gradually add water, kneading until smooth.

Form dough into small balls

Form dough into 16 small balls.

mexican tortilla press

With a Mexican tortilla press, place one ball of dough at a time between two pieces of waxed paper and press into 3-inch round patty. If you don’t have a press, use a pie pin roller, placing one ball of dough at a time between two pieces of waxed paper, rolling pie pin over ball into a 3-inch round patty.

cooking sopes in avocado oil

Next, add oil to a large skillet over medium-high and heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Cook patties for 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown, adding additional oil as needed to prevent sticking.

pinching sides of sopes

Allow sopes to cool for 2 to 3 minutes. Next place fingers of both hands on patty, with fingers on the patty and the thumbs on the edge. With a circular motion, pinch the edges of the patty up ¼ inch.

 

Now for the toppings:

1 (16-ounce) can black beans, warmed

1/8 cup avocado oil

8 oz. mild salsa

2 cups shredded green lettuce or dark greens

2 medium tomatoes, diced

1 medium avocado, peeled and sliced

1 cup sour cream

1 cup crumbled Mexican Cotija cheese

smashing black beans

Place black beans in a heated medium skillet. Heat beans thoroughly. Place heated beans into a large bowl and while hot smash beans with a potato smasher or equivalent.

traditional topping for Mexican Sopes

Prepare the other toppings according to ingredient, amount and preparation above. The image shows a bowl of radishes. I just love to eat radishes with my Mexican meals. when I lived in Mexico, I always bought hand tacos at local taco stands. While you were waiting you could munch on prepared vegetables they had sitting out, and radishes was one of them.

Top each sope  first with black beans

Now, top each sope with black beans.

Traditional Mexican Sopes

Add the other toppings in this order: lettuce, sour cream, tomatoes, salsa, Cotija, avocado slice, and more salsa if desired.  ! Buen Provecho! That’s Spanish for Enjoy!

 

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