Asparagus with Crispy Prosciutto and Pine Nuts


This is a lovely dish that is perfect for brunch, lunch, and dinner. One cannot go wrong with asparagus, however, coming up with the right recipe can be a challenge. The crunchy prosciutto and nuttiness of the pine nuts are a nice combination with the asparagus. The dish has great contrast in colors as well, which can be important for presentation sake. definitely  a winner, especially right now when asparagus is plentiful at the local farmers markets and grocery stores.

 ingredients:

3 oz thinly sliced prosciutto

1 ½ lb asparagus

1 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

lemon, halved

1 tbs fresh basil, coarsely chopped

3 tbs toasted pine nuts

directions:

Heat oven to 350° F. Place the prosciutto in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until it crisped, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool. 

Meanwhile, cut the asparagus into 2 inch pieces. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until tender but still bright green, 3 to 5 minutes, depending on thickness. Drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water. Drain again and pat dry.

Transfer to a bowl. Add the oil, salt, and pepper and toss. Break the prosciutto into pieces and toss over the asparagus. Place the asparagus on a serving platter and squeeze juice of half a lemon over it. Sprinkle with the pine nuts and basil.

Can be served at room temperature or chilled.

Bon appetit!

Recipe adapted from Real Simple recipes, Asparagus with Prosciutto Chips

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Broccoli Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette


I’ve been craving a fresh broccoli salad for some time now. This recipe is quite refreshing and received plenty of compliments from everyone at the table. What makes this salad a bit unique is that the broccoli is sliced very thin in lieu of having whole florets. The dressing better coats these thin slices and each bite is just as tasty as the last. For those who are used to the more typical broccoli salad with the cider and mayonnaise, this salad is worth a try. The lemon dijon dressing is perfect! This salad is a great base for other ideas as well. For a meal, chicken could be added and a touch of peppery arugula. Just use your imagination as there are many possibilities!

ingredients:

for the dressing:

2 tbs white wine vinegar

1 lemon, zested

Juice from ½ a lemon

2 tbs Dijon mustard

1 tsp sea salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of red chili flakes

1/4 c extra virgin olive oil

for the salad:

1 lb broccoli, trimmed of stalk, rinsed, and thinly sliced

8 oz yellow, orange, or red cherry tomatoes (or grape), a combination is nice

¼ c fresh basil, julienned

¼ c toasted pine nuts

1/4 c crispy prosciutto

directions:

Turn the oven to broil. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and place the prosciutto in a single layer on the pan. Place in the oven and broil for several minutes, until the prosciutto is beginning to harden (similar to that of bacon). Remove the sheet pan from the oven and turn the prosciutto slices over. Broil for another several minutes. Remove from the oven once the prosciutto is crisp but not burnt. It will change colors slightly. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, combine the ingredients for the dressing up to the red chili flakes. Whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Place the sliced broccoli in a serving dish. Pour in the dressing and toss together until the broccoli is coated. Refrigerate for roughly an hour.

Slice the cherry tomatoes in half. Remove the broccoli from the fridge. Add the cherry tomatoes and julienned basil and gently toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with the pine nuts and prosciutto bits.

Serve and enjoy!

This dish can be vegetarian by eliminating the prosciutto…

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fish tacos with a poblano and toasted corn hash


When days are warmer and nights are longer, our dinners tend to get later and later. This is okay as it gives everyone time to play outside and work in the yard. Tacos can be such an easy meal if everyone gets involved. Mexican (or Tex-mex) can be such a healthy meal if it is done right. If I am wanting to skip some of the carbs, sometimes I leave the tortillas to the boys and I will eat my taco fixings on a nice bed of lettuce. Whole wheat tortillas are a great alternative as well.

The tilapia takes very little time and the poblano and toasted corn hash offers a unique alternative to some of the traditional taco accompaniments. Be generous with the lime as it definitely brings out the flavors in this recipe.

(4 SERVINGS)

ingredients:

for the tilapia

1 lb tilapia fish

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp chili powder (optional)

juice of one lime

½ tsp sea salt and freshly ground pepper

extra virgin olive oil

for the hash

2 poblano chiles

1 red or yellow bell pepper

1 lg white onion, thinly sliced

1 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1 lg russet potato, peeled, cooked and cubed

1 c corn kernels, fresh or frozen

1 c crema, creme fraiche, or sour cream

2 tsp adobo sauce

1 c fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

½ c green onions, thinly sliced

2 limes, cut into large wedges

salsa of choice

directions:

Place the tilapia in a shallow dish. Sprinkle the cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil over the fish and the juice of one lime. Set aside.

Over a flame, in a broiler, on a grill, char skins of chiles until blistered and black on all sides. Place in a bowl and cover them tightly with plastic wrap to steam for 15 minutes. Once ready to handle, peel or rinse the skins off. Remove the seeds and veins and slice into thin strips.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil and cook onions, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes or until they begin to caramelize and turn brown. If using frozen corn, rinse the corn under hot water until it is thawed. Drain and add, along with the cubed potatoes, to the onions. Cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the potatoes and corn have begun to brown, add the chile and pepper strips and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the grill for the fish. Be sure it is clean as tilapia is delicate and you don’t want it to stick. Lightly oil the portion of grill you will be using. If cooking on direct heat at about 300 degrees, the fish will take 5-10 minutes. If using indirect heat, the fish should take about 10 minutes. Cook the tilapia until it is cooked through and has turned a solid white throughout. It is ready the juiced run clear and it flakes when a fork is put into it. Remove from the grill.

Toast the tortillas over a gas flame until warmed and slightly charred. Place the tortilla’s on serving plates and assemble the tacos by placing the poblano and toasted corn hash on the tortilla first. With the back of a fork, press the potato cubes until slightly smashed. Place large flakes of the tilapia on top. Squeeze a generous amount of lime over the fish. Dress the tacos with the sliced scallions, fresh cilantro, and a good dollop of the chipolte crèma. Serve with the salsa on the side.

Serve immediately.

Bon appetit!

 

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Curried chicken burger with chive ginger mayo


Chicken burgers have very little fat and are a great alternative to beef. Like turkey, a chicken burger is best with some added flavor as both turkey and chicken are a blank canvas. This recipe has a touch of curry but, not enough to overpower it. It is a subtle flavor that works great with chive mayo and avocado.

The trick to working with ground chicken is not to handle it too much. When forming the patties, the chicken will be stickier and not as easy to form into patties like beef. Slightly oiling your hands helps. Cleaning and oiling the grates on the grill will also help to ensure the burgers won’t stick. In lieu of purchasing ground chicken, chicken breast can be diced and put into a food processor until it is pulsed to a point that you can form a patty.

Makes 4 servings

ingredients:

1/2 c light mayonnaise

1/2 tbs grated fresh ginger

1-2 tbs chopped fresh chives

1 large egg

1/2 c red onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

2 tsp curry powder

1 1/4 lbs ground chicken breast

4 hamburger buns

1 avocado,thinly sliced

pickled onion (optional)

directions:

In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, ginger and chives. Set aside. This can be done ahead of time and the flavors will be better the longer it melds (refrigerated).

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, onion,  garlic, salt, black pepper and curry powder. Lightly oil your hands before handling the chicken. Gently fold in the chicken and well, without over handling the meat. Form into four patties and set aside, on a lightly greased plate.

Use a spatula to carefully place the burgers on the prepared grill and cook, covered, for 4 to 5 minutes. Flip the burgers — they should be firm enough to move easily now — and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes, or until an instant thermometer reads at least 165 degrees at the thickest part of the burgers. Remove from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes. While the grill is still hot, place the buns, open side down, on the grill and toast them until golden.

Place each burger on a bun, then top with mayonnaise, and pickled onions. Serve immediately.

Bon appetit!

Recipe adapted from The Seattle Times, Food and Wine

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Poached Cod in Creamy Tarragon Sauce


This tarragon cream sauce is so good that it literally steals the show. I hadn’t made this dish in years and simply recalled the night I had it last and how all of us at the table could not stop asking for more sauce and bread. The bread was to soak up the delicious sauce. With this said, you might want to consider making extra sauce. This recipe comes from an old cookbook I received as a gift over 10 years ago, The Practically Vegetarian Cookbook, Josceline Dimbleby. An excellent cookbook! The recipe is slightly adapted from the original.

Monkfish and Cod can be used. A tougher white fish is best, however, a softer fish like sea bass could be used. Cut them into larger pieces and keep the skin on. The sauce is light and creamy and is made by reducing the poaching liquid. Lemon juice and tarragon give the sauce a tangy and fresh depth that is perfect. Perfect!

ingredients:

2 lbs cod or monkfish

1/4 c freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 c fish or chicken stock

3/4 c white wine

1/2 c heavy cream

2 tbs fresh tarragon, freshly chopped

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

pinch of red chili flakes

generous handful fresh tarragon leave, garnish

directions:

Cut the fish into 3/4 inch pieces. Place the fish in a large sauce pan. Add the lemon juice and sprinkle the fish with a little sea salt and ground pepper. Let the fish sit for a couple of minutes.

Meanwhile, in another sauce pan, pour in both the fish or chicken stock and bring to a boil. Then pour it over the fish and bring the stock back to a boil in this sauce pan. As soon as the boiling point is reached, cover the pan and remove it from the heat. The residual heat will continue to cook the fish. Let it sit for about 8 minutes or until the flesh of the fish has turned opaque. Gently transfer the fish, using a slotted spatula, to a serving dish. Cover the fish with foil and keep warm on top of the stove. Reserve the remaining poaching liquid in the saucepan.

Bring the reserved poaching liquid boil and let it boil uncovered, without stirring, for 10 minutes or until it has reduced to less than a quarter of its original volume and has thickened. Stir in the cream and the two tablespoons of tarragon leaves. Reduce the heat to medium-high and bring the liquid back up to a boil, and let it gently boil for about 3 minutes or until it has thickened slightly. Pour the sauce over the poached fish in the serving dish, garnish with whole fresh tarragon leaves and serve immediately. The best accompaniment for this dish is a fresh baguette.

Bon appetit!

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Chicken Fajitas


Fajitas are an excellent dinner choice when your craving some Mexican food and want to keep your meal a bit lighter and healthier. There is nothing fried and fajitas don’t need to be laden with cheese. This is a quick and easy recipe and is perfect for a spring night. If time is not on your side, the chicken does not need to be marinated for the full suggested time, 30 minutes is enough. Traditional fajitas are made with steak, pork, and chicken. This marinade will work on all three meats.

Serves 4

ingredients:

1 ¼ lb chicken breast, thinly sliced

1 tbs ground cumin

2 tsp chili powder

kosher salt and black pepper

juice of one lime

zest of one lime

2 tbs olive oil

1 onion, sliced

2 bell peppers, red and green, sliced

8 flour tortillas

1 avocado, cut up, or guacamole

1 c cilantro, coarsely chopped

1/2 c sour cream

Jar of your favorite salsa

directions:

Mix together the cumin, chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt ,1/2 teaspoon pepper, zest, and juice of one lime. Place the chicken in a ziplock bag and pour the marinade over the chicken. Massage the chicken with your hands once the bag is sealed to be sure each piece is coated with the marinade. Marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 6 hours. Remove chicken from refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a cast iron or large nonstick skillet over high heat. In batches, cook the chicken until browned, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat.

Add the onion and bell peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes.

Heat the tortillas over a gas flame and let them brown on each side held just over the flame. Place the chicken, peppers, and onions on the tortillas. Garnish each with guacamole or avocado, fresh cilantro, and a dollop of sour cream.

Serve immediately.

Bon Appetit!

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Fried Rice


 

After a long time of searching for a fried rice recipe that resembles one that you would find in a restaurant, finally I found one.  This recipe has a depth that resembles those found in  Asian restaurants. The sesame oil makes a big difference and there are a lot of recipes that don’t call for it. When there is leftover rice or leftover pork in the house, this has been the go to recipe. Leftover rice works great as it has dried out some. If you make the rice and it is fresh, try to let it sit at room temperature with the lid off so it can dry out some.

Recipe adapted from Tyler Florence, Fried Rice with Peas and Carrots.

ingredients:

rice:

2 c long grain rice, rinsed (white or brown)

4 c water

1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced in half

1 tbs kosher salt

for the fried rice:

3 tbs sesame oil

4 scallions, sliced thin

1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped finely

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 c frozen peas, run under warm water to bring to room temperature.

1 lg carrot, finely chopped

2 tsp red chili flakes

2 lg eggs, lightly beaten

3 tbs low sodium soy sauce

1 tbs hoisin sauce

2 tbs oyster sauce

kosher salt

1 c fresh cilantro, coarsley chopped

pork tenderloin, cooked and cut into thin slices, 1/2 inch long (optional)

directions:

In a pot with a tight-fitting lid, add the rice and 4 cups of cold water. Add the ginger and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover, and cook per the package instructions. remove from heat and set it aside for 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl mix the soy sauce, hoisin, and oyster sauce. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Pour in the sesame oil and add the ginger and carrots, stir fry for a couple of minutes until carrots are starting to get tender. Add garlic,  half of the green onion, and red chili flakes and cook until fragrant. Add the peas and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Pour in the lightly beaten eggs and stir-fry until they are cooked.

Remove the ginger from the rice and add the rice to the skillet, stir everything together and break any clumps of rice. Add the hoisin mixture and stir until combined. Taste for seasoning and add salt if necessary. Once the rice is warmed through, it is ready to serve. Remove from the heat and add the remaining green onion and cilantro.

If using leftover pork, thinly slice the pork into strips about a 1/2 inch long and add after the rice has been added. Serve when the pork is heated through.

Serve with chopsticks and Siriacha

 

bon appetit!

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