Strawberry Lemon Dressing

Strawberry Lemon Dressing

This vinaigrette will be tasteless unless made with ripe strawberries. It looks a lovely deep pinky red color. If you find the dressing a little tart, add a sugar in small amounts until you get the taste you like. I serve it with grilled, sliced chicken over arugula with slices of cucumber and a few strawberries also cut into slices – great for a summer lunch outside (maybe accompanied by a chilled Rose wine).

 

8  oz ripe strawberries

1/2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

 

Puree the strawberries in a food processor, then add lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper.

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Cannellini Beans with Garlic and Herbes de Provence (serves 4)

Cannellini Beans with Garlic and Herbes de Provence (serves 4)

I am veering towards using dried beans and soaking them rather than canned beans. Not much can be messed up or added to dried beans and no salt. However, a lot of soaking and simmering is involved so it is a darned sight easier and quicker to use the canned variety. Pulses are good for you and very versatile. They stand alone as a veg. , make tasty dips, can be added to soups, stews, chillis and salads – and they are filling and cheap.

This recipe was originally meant to be a side dish for chicken or lamb, but once I had made it I pureed a bit to make a dip and I added extra broth to make it a soup. Herbes de Provence, which are quite widely available and last for ages, add far more flavor than just oregano.

 

2 x cups dried dried cannellini beans

10 x cups water (and add more if necessary during cooking)

3/4 cup chicken or veg. broth

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 large cloves of garlic

3 x pinches of Herbes de Provence

salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Cover the 2 cups of dried cannellini beans with water and soak for at least 8 hours in a cast iron bottomed pan (I use Le Creuset)

Tip out the water and cover beans with 10 cups of fresh water and add more during cooking when necessary.

Bring pan to boil and then simmer for 2 hours.

Drain beans.

Put 1 tbsp.  olive oil into same cast iron bottomed pan along with salt and pepper.

When sizzling, add minced garlic and cook for a minute or 2 (don’t let garlic brown).

Add 3 pinches of Herbes de Provence.

Taste test and adjust seasonings accordingly.

Bring pan to boil

Strawberry and Rhubarb Compote

Strawberry and Rhubarb Compote (4)

Over the years I have seen many recipes using this blend of fruits – pies, cobblers, crumbles and more. As it is the height of the strawberry season in Florida, I thought I would make a strawberry rhubarb compote – only use ripe strawberries that really taste like a strawberry. Instead of using sugar, say between 1/4 and 1/2 cup, I used 2 tbsp. organic blue agave (www.wholesomesweeteners.com) . The result was very good. The two fruits complement each other well.

If you wanted to make it and top it with meringue (see Eton Mess Recipe) in individual ramekins, I would use the juice of half an orange instead of a whole orange and then the mixture would be firmer or  you could just keep reducing the original recipe.

Just had a thought – could be made into a puree and it could be drizzled over fruit or fruit salad. I am going to drizzle it over sliced pears, I think.

3/4 pound rhubarb – rinsed and cut into 1″ pieces

Juice and pulp of 1 large orange

3/4 pound ripe strawberries – rinsed and cut in half or quarters, depending on size of strawberries

2 tbsp. agave syrup

Place rhubarb, orange juice and pulp in a saucepan and cook for 5 minutes until rhubarb is soft.

Add strawberries and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Add 2 tbsp. agave syrup and cook for a further 5 minutes.