Pear, Prosciutto and Fennel Salad (serves 4)

Pear, Prosciutto and Fennel Salad (serves 4)

This recipe is for my sister-in-law who has just picked 75 pears from her pear tree! Pears are nice in a salad (just make sure you serve it straight away else pears will go brown) and the fennel provides a contrasting crunch. The strips of prosciutto gives extra flavor and goes as well with pears as it does with melon (now there’s another idea!). Rather than lettuce I used arugula/rocket which adds a slightly peppery taste. I like this salad as an appetizer. Omit the prosciutto and it’s perfect for vegans/vegetarians.

Arugula/rocket
1 large pear – sliced or diced
1 head of fennel or less if large
4 slices of prosciutto – sliced

Mix all ingredients together well and serve with a lemon vinaigrette.

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Carrot, avocado and scallion salad with lime dressing

Carrot, avocado and scallion salad with lime dressing (serves 4)

The dressing makes this simple salad into something more unusual – it is a combination of lime juice, zest, ginger, cilantro, garlic and oil. I blended them all together in a food processor so the ingredients emulsified. I let the dressing stand for an hour before pouring it over the other ingredients in a Ziploc bag (this makes the dressing coat the veggies evenly and at the same time prevents the avocado from going brown).

4 oz grated carrots
1 avocado – diced
3 large scallions – finely sliced
1 head of romaine lettuce – finely sliced

Place the above 4 ingredients in a Ziploc bag.

Dressing

Juice of 1 lime
Zest of half a lime
Handful of cilantro
1/2 tbsp. ginger (add more after tasting if you want to)
2 cloves garlic
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place all ingredients in a food processor one by one and process until thoroughly mixed. Let stand for an hour for flavor to develop. Pour over veggies in a Ziploc bag and shake so veggies are evenly coated. Serve after half an hour.

Oven-Roasted Green Beans and Sweet Potato (serves 4)

Oven-Roasted Green Beans and Sweet Potato (serves 4)

Every time I eat sweet potato in whatever guise I feel rather saintly because they are supposed to be so good for you – even if it’s sweet potato fries! I have eaten them roasted with other veg. several times especially in the Fall with lots of root veg. This time I combined diced sweet potato with green beans, red onions and garlic. I placed all the ingredients in a Ziploc bag and added olive oil and salt and pepper and gave the bag a good shake so veg. were covered with oil, then I left them in the bag at room temperature for an hour before cooking. After half an hour in the oven you have a vegetable dish that could accompany any meat or would make a stand alone vegetarian dish. Also taste good cold.

1 large sweet potato (about 3/4 pound) – peeled and diced
3/4 pound green beans – topped and tailed
4 oz red onion – chopped but not too finely
2 large cloves garlic – minced
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place all ingredients in a Ziploc bag and shake. Let sit for an hour at room temperature.
Roast in oven for 1/2 hour.

Quinoa Paella (serves 4)

Quinoa Paella (Serves 4)

Protein, protein, protein. Gave this to my son tonight and he wants me to make a ton more of it so he can take it to work for lunch. I suppose it is really a cheat’s paella but whatever works!

Cook 2 chicken breasts and cut into chunks.
Cook 1 cup of quinoa in 2 cups of vegetable stock.
Heat 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil and add 1 onion, finely chopped and cook until softened.
Add 3 slices of prosciutto ham, cut into thin slices.
Add a good handful of peas and cook until all is well heated.
Add in quinoa and sliced chicken and serve.

Result – delicious!

Mustard Shallot Gravy

Mustard Shallot Gravy

Doesn’t it feel good when the recipe you are trying turns out to be better than imagined? This gravy is really nice and thick and what I did first of all was whizz all the ingredients together in my food processor (have never thought of doing this before but it was a good idea). Then I added the mustard shallot mixture to the drippings left by roast pork. Pork and mustard seem to go together so naturally, but this gravy would probably go equally well with roast chicken.
Vegetarians and vegans can make this as I use vegetable stock/broth. I am becoming loathe to use store bought chicken/beef broth as I am wondering what kind of animals they use. Don’t know if there is any truth to this but it kind of makes sense. I make my own stock sometimes but only if I know that the chicken is free range, organic, etc.

Take 1/2 cup of vegetable broth, 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard, 1 shallot (roughly chopped) and 3 cloves garlic (roughly chopped).
Place these ingredients in a food processor and blend well.
Pour into roasting tin with drippings from a roast and heat through.

Blackened Fish (serves 4)

Blackened Fish (serves 4)

Blackened fish is on almost every menu in South Florida and if not the restaurant can usually serve it blackened. You can get blackened salmon, swordfish, shrimp or my favorite, Mahi Mahi. It is often served with black beans and rice and maybe a fruit salsa. I have tried blackening fish at home with disappointing results because my blend of spices just wasn’t right. So, I investigated the spice section of the supermarket and found some Creole seasoning (Konriko brand which is also gluten free). If you are visiting Florida you may want to take some home with you. This seasoning is a spicy addition to lots of different foods.

So, basically take 4 pieces of firm white fish or wild salmon. Dip both sides of the fish in olive oil and sprinkle the Creole seasoning over each side of the fish too. I cooked it in the oven on a cake rack over a roasting dish for 20 minutes – delicious, simple and a winner. Maybe a little lemon juice squeezed over too.

Farmstand Fruit Salad (serves 4)

Farmstand Fruit Salad (serves 4)

Don’t make this recipe unless all the fruit is perfectly ripe as you will miss out on the full flavor.

Take half a mango, a peach and a nectarine.
Dice the mango, peel and dice the peach and nectarine.
Put in a bowl and mix together well.
Let stand out of the fridge for at least half an hour before serving.
Great for breakfast or as a dessert.

If you want to you can add a few drops of my new favorite kitchen addition, Yuzu juice.