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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Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise Sauce

Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise Sauce

We are really excited to share this breakfast treat with you. It was our first attempt to make Eggs Benedict with homemade Hollandaise sauce.

Keep in mind this is a high protein breakfast, which will give you long term sustained energy. You should not find yourself snacking on junk food before you eat lunch around noon or 1 pm. Your body takes its time to digest protein, using every bit of it to give your muscles energy and making necessary repairs in other parts of the body.

What you will need to make Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise Sauce.

prosciutto

Prosciutto (Pork-Ham)

2 slices of 100% whole wheat English Muffin (per person)

2 medium to large eggs (per person)

4 slices of prosciutto (per person)

Warming meat and English Muffen for Eggs Benedict

Open the English muffin into two parts and place two slices of  prosciutto on each half. As you can see the front prepared muffins look nicer, and the back two look messy. I learned on the second attempt that there is a special technique to pulling the meat off the special coated paper between each slice of prosciutto.

Place them in a preheated 200 degree oven for about 5 to 10 minutes , or until the  meat and muffin are warmed. Here we used our counter top conventional Nu wave oven.

For the sauce to top the Eggs Benedict, this is what you will need.

This recipe is sufficient for 2 plates of Eggs Benedict.

4 egg yolks

1 stick of butter, no salt, melted

1 teaspoon lemon juice

sea salt and pepper to taste

You might have your own way to separate the yolk from the white, but this is our way of doing it.

Also the eggs should be at room temperature. Now that you have separated the yolks here is how you turn them into Hollandaise sauce.

preparing Hollandaise Sauce

In a 6 quart pot add water 1/4 way up. Bring water to a soft boil. Add yolks and lemon juice to either a large glass or metal mixing bowl. Place the bowl over the pot of soft boiling water and start to whisk the yolks over the simmering water until yolks become thick, about 2 to 3 minutes, removing from heat and putting back on. Do not stop whisking.

Remove from heat and add butter and whisk in. Next add sea salt and pepper to taste, whisk some more. If the sauce is to thick just add a few drops of water until you get a sauce again.

preparing to pouch eggs

Using the same pot of water add 2 to 3 teaspoons of white vinegar. Next crack an egg into a small glass bowl and gently drop egg into boiling water for 2 minutes. Do this with each egg. Remove pouched egg with a slotted spoon and place one egg on each slice of muffin.

Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise Sauce

Once the pouched eggs are over the muffins, spoon on some Hollandisie sauce and enjoy!!

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Carrot Cranberry Salad

Carrot Cranberry Salad

 

Carrots originated in Afghanistan with an array of colors, from reds, purples, red and even black. Orange is not an original color. It is said that the Dutch cross-bred the yellow and red carrot to produce a variety that was the emblematic color of the House of Orange. This carrot quickly became popular and was further developed to become the sweet, succulent orange carrot which is the most recognized color of carrot used throughout the world today (World Carrot Museum).

Most carrot cultivars are about 88% water, 7% sugar, 1% protein, 1% fiber, 1% ash, and 0.2% fat. Most of the nutrition in carrots are in the peel and about the first 1/4 to 1/2-inch upper part of the carrot.

The so called bagged “Baby Carrots” sold in the market have no nutritional value. The carrots are wedeled down to get the shape and uniformity that they have. Basically the baby carrots are the center part of the original product, were no nutrition is found.

 

5 Good Reasons to Eat Carrots

1. Vision: Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in your liver to keep your eyes healthy.

2. Cancer: Carrots have phytonutrients in them and this helps to reduce the risk of lung, breast and colon cancers.

3. Heart: Carrots are full of potassium and soluble fiber, which means the vegetable is good for blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol.

4. Aging: Carrots have beta-carotene that helps to prevent and repair cell damage, slowing the aging of cells.

5. Skin: Vitamin A and antioxidants found in carrots, protect the skin from sun damage and prevent premature wrinkling, acne and dry skin.

 

The featured recipe: Carrot Cranberry Salad and here is what you will need:

ingredients for Carrot Cranberry Salad

1/4 cup pecan, pieces

3 cups carrots, grayed

1/2 cup cranberries, dried

4 cups boiling water

Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

juice of 2 oranges

Zest of 1 orange

1 tsp. grated ginger, fresh

 

 

grated carrots

 

First take the carrots from the cutting board and grate them till you have 3 cups.

 

placing grated carrot and dried cranberries ini hot water

 

In a lager quart pot, boil 4 cups of water. Once the water is boiling turn it off and remove from burner. Now place the 3 cups of carrots and the 1/2 cup of dried cranberries into hot water for 30 seconds then drain off water.

Rinse with cold water and allow water to drain completely. The purpose of the boiling water is just to soften a bit the carrots and hydrate the cranberries so the juices and the flavor of the zests and ginger will enter the shredded carrot with more ease.

Place the carrot and cranberries into a large bowl. Now mix in the rest of the ingredients from the cutting board less the pecans.

 

mixing all ingredients together for Carrot Cranberry Salad

 

Mix all of the ingredients until well incorporated. Place some plastic wrap or aluminum foil over the bowl and put into the refrigerator and allow to chill, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Remove from the refrigerator and mix in the pecans. Mixing in the pecans last prevents them from getting soggy while the salad  is chilling.

-Carrot Cranberry Salad-

 

Plate and enjoy!!

 

What Others are Saying About Carrots and Salad:

 

 

 

 

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Different Ways to Cook Rice

 

Different Ways to Cook Rice

Rice needs to be thoroughly washed. A good way to do this is to put it into a colander and place it in a deep pan of water. Rub the rice well with your hands, lifting the colander in and out the water, and changing the water until it is clear; then drain. In this way the grit is deposited in the water, and the rice is left thoroughly clean.

The best method of cooking rice is by steaming it. If boiled in water, it loses a portion of its already small percentage of nitrogenous elements, unless you are using whole grain brown rice. With white rice most of the nutrition was removed when the fiber was stripped away in the processing method.

White rice requires much less time cooking than whole grain brown rice. Rice as it cooks to several times its original bulk. One cup of uncooked rice is two cups of rice when cooked.

When cooked, each grain of rice should be separate and distinct, yet perfectly tender.

Try some of the following methods.

Steamed Rice

Soak a cup of rice in one and a fourth cups of water for an hour, then add a cup of milk, turn into a dish suitable for serving it at the table, and place into a steam-cooker or a covered steamer over a pan of boiling water, and steam for an hour. It should be stirred with a fork occasionally, for the first ten or fifteen minutes.

Japanese Method of Cooking Rice

1 cup rice

1 ½ tsp.  salt

5 cups boiling water

Wash the rice, add it to the boiling salted water, and boil slowly for 15 minutes. Then cover the utensil in which the rice is cooking and place it in the oven for 15 minutes more, in order to evaporate the water more completely and make the grains soft without being mushy. Serve in the same way as boiled rice.

Classic Rice Pilaf

2 cups long grain rice

2 bay leaves

3 cups chicken broth

1 small onion, diced

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tsp. salt

Pepper, to taste

Heat the oven to 350 F.

Over medium heat in a small sauce pan, heat the oil. Add the diced onion and minced garlic and cook until soft and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the rice to a 9 x 9 oven safe glass cooking pan. Stir in sautéed onion/garlic mix until well incorporated.

Add the broth, bay leaves and season with salt and pepper.

Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place in the heated oven and cook for 35 minutes. Remove and let sit for 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and fluff with a fork.

If making the Classic Rice Pilaf, try adding the following:

Rice with vegetables and nuts

After the pilaf is cooked add

  1. a mix of cooked peas and carrots with slivered almonds
  2. Roasted diced sweet potato and pecans

Check out our article “Say Good-bye to Soggy Rice“.

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