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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Creamy Brussels Sprouts Casserole

Creamy Brussels Sprouts Casserole

Brussels sprouts look like mini-cabbages more than anything are packed with vitamins and minerals that support a healthy immune system. Their highly nutritious, and extremely versatile in preparation with a number of different recipes.

With a variety of options for how to add them to your diet, you won’t ever get bored with these perfectly crafted vegetables made by nature for you.

brussels sproutsWhat Are Brussels Sprouts?

These little cabbages are grown for their edible buds and may have gotten their name from Brussels, Belgium, where they are believed to have originated and are highly popular. Ancestors of the modern Brussels sprout were most likely cultivated in ancient Rome, but the sprouts we know and love today were likely grown as early as the 13th century in Belgium (Wikipedia).

Nutrition of Brussels Sprouts

They are a small round leafy vegetable, and are packed with phytonutrients, including protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

brussels sprouts in the gardenThe vitamins include, vitamin C and K , some B-complex vitamins, like B-6, and folate. The minerals include, trace amounts of selenium, copper, zinc and manganese, iron, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.

Brussels sprouts are also a great source of vitamin A, which is an antioxidant required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes, skin, and promoting optimal eye health, reducing the risk of macular degeneration.

They can also cause gas and bloating if eaten raw, as they have an enzyme that is difficult to digest. Cooking them breaks this enzyme down and the nutrition of the vegetable becomes more bio-available to the body.

Brussels Spouts and Cancer

Vegetables rich with vitamins A and C have shown to offer protection against some cancers such as oral cavity, and lung cancer. The extent of cancer-protection in Brussels sprouts is still widely researched, but findings hint that this vegetable among others, can help fight cancer causing agents, as well cleansing the body of toxins.

Preparing Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts can be roasted in the oven, used in stir-fry’s, shredded and used in salads, added to soups, casseroles, pasta dishes, and used as garnish around poultry and fish.

There is really no right or wrong way to prepare them!

Now that we have your taste buds going, let’s present our featured recipe: Creamy Brussels Sprouts Casserole, and here is what you will need.

Creamy Brussels Sprouts Casserole

1 – 8 ounce package, cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup sour cream

1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms (optional)

1 medium onion, chopped

2 tablespoons butter (or coconut butter)

1 ½ pounds fresh Brussels sprouts, ends cut off

Optional to use 2 packages – 10 ounces each of frozen Brussels sprouts, thawed and drained

3/4 cup shredded cheese, your choice, cheddar, Monterey, Mozzarella, goat cheese, or any hard cheese

Heat Oven to 350 degrees

In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and sour cream until smooth. Set aside.

In a large skillet, sauté mushrooms and onion in butter until tender. Stir in Brussels sprouts. Remove from the heat and stir in cream cheese mixture.

Grease a 2 quart baking dish, and spoon mixture in spreading out evenly.

Cover dish and bake for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly. Uncover and sprinkle with cheese. Bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Make 6-8 servings

Enjoy as a stand alone dish, or as a side dish with your favorite meat recipe.

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More Brussels sprouts recipes here at Splendid Recipes and More…

Roasted Root Vegetables with Brussels sprouts and Bacon

Warm Brussels sprouts and Dilled Potato Salad

Brown Butter and Brussels Sprout with Fennel

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Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash with Spinach and Goat Cheese Salad

(close up) Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash with Spinach and Goat Cheese SaladAutumn gives way to cold days and nights. Just about all colors in nature have faded and plant life has gone dormant. But colors of nature are always at work, and they can be found in the foods we consume through the winter months.

Like Belgian endive, which peaks in late November and is generally available through early spring. Also available year round, are Brussels sprouts, which normally peak in the fall to early winter.

Through the winter we can obtain artichoke, bok choy, snow peas, and water cress. Of course most of that produce is green in color.

If you want to see color then feast your eyes on the red beets  as well as green and red apples, including green and red pears.

Fall winter produceThere is also oranges, blood oranges with its sweet red colored flesh, red pomegranates, and yellowish parsnips.

Not to forget cream skinned butternut squash with a deep orange hue colored flesh, and that brings us to our feature recipe: Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash with Spinach and Goat Cheese Salad.

Here at Splendid recipes and More we keep the health conscience in mind who not only wish to eat healthy, but also wish to know the nutrient value of the food they consume.

Butternut squash has folate which helps to build a strong heart and prevent a heart attack. The function of folate is to work against compounds that compromise the structure of the blood vessels. A correlation between consuming foods that contain folate and reduced incidences of colon cancer.

Researchers have found that a vitamin A deficiency, caused by A carcinogen in cigarette smoke, contributes to a vitamin-A deficiency, which leads to the debilitating disease of emphysema. Any winter squash including butternut squash, are rich in vitamin-A, which research suggests  could protect against emphysema.

It would be ideal to stop smoking, a diet rich in vitamin A and beta-cryptoxanthin may protect lung health if a person choose not to quit or is daily exposed to cigarette smoke.

Now for the recipe, and here is what you will need.

1 lb. chicken breast, fat trimmed

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, sliced 2 to 3 inches long by ½ inch wide

8 cups baby spinach, washed

2/3 cup fresh goat cheese

½ cup pecan pieces

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Himalayan salt

Black pepper

Garlic powder

Carrot and Ginger Dressing

seasoned roasted chicken breast - Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash with Spinach and Goat Cheese Salad

Arrange chicken breasts onto a glass baking dish, and sprinkle salt, pepper, and garlic powder according to taste. Place into a 350 degree oven and roast 10 minutes. Turn breast over and reapply salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and roast another 10 minutes. Check internal temperature of meat, if it is at least 160 degrees remove meat and set aside.

roasted butternut squash -  Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash with Spinach and Goat Cheese SaladPrepare butternut squash and place into a large bowl, but only after spooning in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Roast in oven on 350 degrees for about 10 to 15 minutes or just until squash is baked but not soft. Remove from oven and set aside.

Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash with Spinach and Goat Cheese SaladUsing four dinner plates, plate each with 2 cups of spinach.

Top with sliced chicken breast (about 4 to 5 slices) and 5 to 6 slices of roasted squash.

Top with pecans, and cheese, then pour on the Carrot and Ginger dressing (purchased at Whole foods Market). Serve and enjoy!

Salad can be eaten warm or cold, and served with fresh sourdough bread and real butter.

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Herbs and Spices Through the Years

Herbs and Spices Through the Years

Humans have used herbs for 1000’s of years. They were either used in cooking for flavoring foods or for medicinal purpose. Spice trade first began around 300 BC by the people in the Mediterranean region. There are also records of the Chinese using over 300 types of herbs and spices for making medicine. Herbs and spices were used for embalming in Egypt, over 5,000 years ago.

Shakespeare himself made a reference to rosemary saying, ““There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember.” Believe it or not, rosemary is an herb that is used for brain function.

In Roman times, young children would put a sprig of rosemary either on the left or right ear, when they would be tested in school. It was said they would smell the aroma of the rosemary, and remember the things they had learned before the tests.

Medical science today is even looking into the prosperity’s of rosemary as a possible cure for Alzheimer’s.

Herbs and spices have always been sought after and fought over. Herbs and spices then are like gold and silver is today. From the 15th to the 17th century, there were wars fought for domination over the Spice Islands, the countries involved were Spain, Portugal, England and Holland.

Today herbs and spices play an essential role in our day-to-day life. Just about everyone has access to culinary herbs of one type or another. Thеrе аrе several types of culinary herbs, they are used еіthеr fresh or dried.

Thеу flavor main dish meals, delectable desserts, and add flavor to side dishes. Herbs and spices can even lower or delete thе uѕе оf salt. In addition tо flavoring prepared foods, many herbs contain high amounts оf antioxidants, whісh аrе responsible fоr protecting thе body against diseases, and premature aging.

Herbs fоr Cooking

Thе best way tо start using herbs іn cooking іѕ tо understand thе flavors аnd benefits they have. Doing ѕо wіll help tо create уоur own special delicious recipe enriched wіth flavorful herbs. Following аrе ѕоmе оf thе herbs commonly used in cooking.

Basil

Different types of basil

Image credit: The Adventures of Thrive Farm
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Fresh аnd dried basil leaves аrе used fоr seasoning various dishes. Though most of the time they are paired with garlic and tomato dishes. Basil in recent times has even been served with strawberries or watermelon and goat cheese.

Thеrе аrе different types оf basil, оf whісh thе most flavorful аrе thе sweet аnd purple basil.

There are different varieties of basil. There’s the lemon basil and lime basil , next is the African blue basil, Thai basil, and even the Licorice basil which contains anethole, the same chemical that makes anise smell like licorice, and in fact is sometimes called “anise basil.”

Fennel

FennelBоth fennel leaves аnd seeds аrе used іn cooking. Thе flavor resembles thаt оf aniseed, except thаt іt іѕ mild аnd sweet. Fennel seed іѕ used іn thе preparation оf fish curry, meat recipes аnd sausages, whеrе аѕ the bulb and leaves аrе added to salads аnd оthеr vegetable dishes.

Mint

Mint іѕ а common culinary herb found іn many varieties, nаmеlу, peppermint, apple mint, lemon mint, аnd chocolate mint. Mint tea іѕ used fоr therapeutic purposes. In cooking, mint leaves аrе used fоr seasoning lamb, fish, аnd poultry recipes. It іѕ аlѕо used іn salad dressings аnd preparation оf sauces.

 

Oregano

oreganoOregano оr wild marjoram іѕ available іn fresh leaves. Its warm aromatic flavor аnd robust taste makes іt а wonderful culinary herb. Oregano іѕ used fоr flavoring  vegetables, fish, аnd meat recipes since ancient times. Chopped leaves оf oregano аrе used fоr seasoning Greek, Mexican аnd Italian cuisines.

Parsley

ParsleyThе flavor оf parsley іѕ mild аnd nоn obtrusive. Fresh leaves оf parsley аrе used for garnishing salads, vegetables, and legume recipes. Parsley blends wеll wіth оthеr culinary herbs like basil, mint, and oregano. Dried parsley leaves is added to the preparation of sauces.

RosemaryRosemary

Rosemary іѕ best paired wіth garlic аnd thyme tо flavor roasted lamb аnd оthеr stewed meats. It has tea like aroma аnd pine like flavor. Fresh аnd dried rosemary leaves аrе used іn cooking vegetables, fish, and poultry.

Sage

Sage has а distinctive musty аnd smoky aroma. Its leaves аrе used еіthеr іn fresh оr dried form. Sage іѕ used fоr adding flavor tо poultry, lamb, аnd sausages. Fresh chopped sage leaves аrе added іn salads аnd pickles. Ground sage іѕ used tо marinate fish аnd meat bеfоrе cooking.

thymeThyme

Thyme іѕ used еѕресіаllу іn French cuisines. Its flavor resembles thаt оf mint. It іѕ used іn soups, sauces аnd аlѕо іn fish, poultry аnd meat recipes. Fresh thyme leaves аrе available іn summer months, where аѕ dried leaves are found throughout the year.

Yоu саn grow аll thеѕе culinary herbs іn your own garden оr іn a sunny window seal, if you’re in an apartment. Herbs and spices аrе easy tо grow аnd develop faster thаn many оthеr plants.

Fоr all the culinary herbs уоu саn delay flowering bу pinching them back. This way the plant doesn’t go to seed right away, but you are able to regularly harvest thе leaves.

Explore уоur culinary talent bу using thеѕе flavorful herbs tо make each meal a splendid recipe and more.

Here are some of our recipes using the mentioned herbs. Watermelon goat Cheese Salad using fennel, Lemon Grass Basil Thai Chicken using Thai basil, Garlic Lime Chicken Fajitas using oregano, and Citrus Herb Roasted Vegetables using thyme, basil, oregano, sage, rosemary, and fennel seeds.

 

 

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Brown Butter and Brussels Sprout with Fennel

Brown Butter and Brussels Sprout with Fennel

 

The Worlds Healthiest Foods web-site has to say this about Brussels sprouts, ” Brussels sprouts can provide you with some special cholesterol-lowering benefits if you will use a steaming method when cooking them. The fiber-related components in Brussels sprouts do a better job of binding together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they’ve been steamed. When this binding process takes place, it’s easier for bile acids to be excreted, and the result is a lowering of your cholesterol levels. Raw Brussels sprouts still have cholesterol-lowering ability — just not as much as steamed Brussels sprouts…” (Worlds Healthiest Foods).

Brussels sprouts have also been found to protects your DNA. That is as cells die, it keeps the body from rewriting them back into your DNA, which is the first step to making tumors.

The health benefits as stated by Organic Facts is, “Fennel provides relief from anemia, indigestion, flatulence, constipation, colic, diarrhea, respiratory disorders, menstrual disorders, and its benefits regarding eye care. Fennel for its essence is widely used around the world in mouth fresheners, toothpastes, desserts, antacids and in various culinary applications” (Organic Facts).

With the facts about use in culinary applications, we bring you our featured recipe: Brown Butter and Brussels Sprout with Fennel.

Here is what you will need.

1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered

1 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2-3 tbsp. fennel, shredded

3 tbsp. slivered almonds, toasted *

1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp. dried dill, or 1 tsp. fresh dill, chopped

steaming Brussels sprouts

Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a large saucepan fitted with a steamer basket. Add Brussels sprouts, cover and steam until tender, 5 to 7 minutes.

toasting almonds till fragrant 2 to 4 minutes

Meantime, in a large skillet, toast slivered almonds till fragrant, about 2 to 4 minutes, and set aside.

browning butter

Next, melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook, swirling often, until the butter turns a nutty brown, 1 to 3 minutes. Stir in oil and scrape into a large bowl with a rubber spatula.

Note we are using a ceramic coated pan, no Teflon. Read more here about the benefits of cooking with Ceramic here.

adding balsmic vinegar and toss to combine

Using a small serving bowl, add the fennel, toasted almonds, dill, Brussels sprouts, and balsamic vinegar and toss to combine.

Brown Butter and Brussels Sprout with Fennel served as a side dish with a main meal

Serve warm with your main dish meal.

 

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Orange, Fennel and Mint Salad

Orange, Fennel and Mint Salad

Were you aware that black pepper aids with digestion?  The black pepper is great at stimulating the taste buds, it helps the pancreas produce digestive enzymes. Your taste buds send signals to your stomach suggesting an increase in the production of hydrochloric acid, the acid which helps your digestive system digest food.

Black pepper can also eliminate the formation of intestinal gas and reduce or eliminate stomach aches. Black pepper also smooths the mucus lining of the digestive system. Black pepper among other nutrients has vitamin E, which adds in healing skin that maybe damaged or cut on.

Our featured recipe includes pepper. We hope with the fore mentioned health information about black pepper, that you will include it as well as with any recipe you find and prepare here at -Splendid Recipes and More- or any other blog or web-site.

Here is what you will need:

2 large navel oranges, peeled, pith removed and cut into crosswise slices

1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed and sliced very thin

3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Pinch salt and pepper, to taste

2 tbsp. fresh mint, chopped

In a large mixing bowl, toss prepared oranges and fennel.  Arrange the mixed slices onto a salad platter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to your taste. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with the mint. Serve immediately.

The olive oil is optional. Also if you desire, you could squeeze lime juice from a fresh lime over the salad. Believe it or not, even though lime juice is acidic, once consumed and digested, it actually balances the pH of the body and reducing the acid through out.

If you desire, you can add ½ red onion thinly sliced and 12 imported black or green olives.

To add more color to the salad you could use blood-oranges in place of navel.

 

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