Wicked Good Potatoes (serves 4)

Wicked Good Potatoes (serves 4)

Next time you roast a chicken serve these potatoes as a side dish. The potatoes are mashed with roasted garlic and chorizo sausage, a little bit of olive oil and veg. broth/stock. I buy my ground/minced chorizo (it is very lean) from the Farriss Farms stand at the West Palm Beach Farmer’s market or the Gardens Green Market, Palm Beach Gardens. You can order it online from Wild Idea Buffalo Co. along with all sorts of different kinds of buffalo steaks, sausages, etc. Or you can use chorizo sausages and take the skin off. I roasted 2 large cloves of garlic in the oven for 20 minutes while the chicken was cooking and then crushed them and mashed them into the potatoes along with the cooked, ground/minced chorizo.

2 large baking potatoes – washed and chopped into chunks (I kept skin on)

2 large cloves of garlic – roasted in oven for 20 minutes until soft

8 oz. ground chorizo – cooked in a skillet

Extra virgin olive oil – for mashing potatoes

Veg. broth – for mashing potatoes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper (if needed, as chorizo adds a spicy flavor)

Cook potatoes and mash with olive oil and veg. broth until desired consistency.

Add cooked chorizo and crushed garlic and mash in well.

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Nectarine, Fennel and Proscuitto Salad (serves 4)

Nectarine, Fennel and Proscuitto Salad (serves 4)

Ripe nectarines a must. Line salad bowl with arugula/rocket, add nectarine slices, chopped fennel and prosciutto. Toss in my orange yuzu dressing (see recipe for Fennel, Orange and Olive Salad). Wonderful summer salad – quite different. Great for picnics or lunch boxes. The sweet of the nectarines and the salt of the prosciutto are great together.

Arugula/rocket (enough to line salad bowl)

2 x ripe nectarines – sliced

1/2 bulb of fennel – sliced and then chopped

3 slices of prosciutto – cut into small pieces

Compose all ingredients in a salad bowl and toss in orange yuzu dressing.

Jo’s Fish Pie (serves 4)

Jo’s Fish Pie (serves 4)

Not your usual fish pie but my spin on it. I took some wild caught cod and wild caught shrimp and cooked them in oil and lemon juice. For the sauce I took 1 dry US pint/8 oz grape tomatoes and some cloves of garlic tossed in olive oil and roasted in the oven, then whizzed in food processor. To the sauce I added some wilted spinach and then poured it over the fish (cut into bite size pieces) and shrimp. Then I topped it with mashed potatoes or omit them and eat the dish without.

The tomato sauce is so easy and so delicious and you can use it any time you need a tomato sauce. It’s not even really cooking – you just tip the tomatoes and whole cloves of garlic into a roasting dish and pour over some olive oil (I also added in the juices from the fish. It comes out of the food processor very creamy. It is my ‘go to’ tomato sauce (maybe I could just add veg. broth/stock and maybe some herbes de Provence and it would be a great soup or maybe…). I added in the juices from the fish.

1/2 pound of (wild caught) cod – cut into bite size piece when cooked

8 (wild caught) shrimp (UK – these are large prawns)

Juice of 1 lemon

1  tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place cod and shrimp in an oven proof dish, pour over lemon juice and oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover dish with aluminum foil and cook in oven for around 15 minutes (if shrimp are frozen de-frost first – best in a pan of warm water). Drain fish juices into tomato sauce in the food processor.

1 dry US pint of grape/cherry tomatoes

3 large cloves of garlic – peeled but whole

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place tomatoes, garlic and oil and add a little salt and freshly ground black pepper

Roast in oven for 30 minutes and then place in food processor along with juices from fish/shrimp.

5oz fresh, baby spinach

Rinse spinach and place in pan/skillet and cook until wilted.

Potatoes – mashed with extra virgin olive oil.

Place fish/shrimp in an ovenproof dish, pour over tomato sauce, add wilted spinach and top with mashed potatoes (or omit mashed potatoes and just enjoy the fishy dish.

New Potatoes Bravas (serves 4 as a side dish)

New Potatoes Bravas (serves 4 as a side dish)

Potatoes Bravas are popular as a Spanish tapas, in which case I think I would serve them with toothpicks. But, they could easily be a fiery little side dish. New potatoes are a good choice as they don’t become mushy. I found a jar of Calabrian Chiles in Oil at Williams Sonoma and they are well worth it as they will last for ages – a little goes a long way. Can also be added to sauces, pizza sauce. Think you could find something similar at Italian delis under names such as Crushed Hot Chili Peppers or Dried Hot Peppers in Oil. The Calabrian chiles are also know as pepperoncini, but I am talking about the red ones not the green ones. Anyway, long story short, if you don’t have any I would substitute some red pepper flakes and Tabasco – go easy and taste and add more until you get the ‘hotness’ you like.

The other special ingredient is Smoked Paprika (mine is labelled Smoked Picante Paprika). It is different from regular paprika – the smoky flavor smells delicious. I shall be using it in many recipes from now on. The Spanish use it in paella, for example.

8 oz new cooked new potatoes

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/4 of a large onion – finely chopped

2 large cloves of garlic – finely chopped

1 teasp. Smoked Paprika

1/2 teasp. Calabrian Chiles in oil (taste sauce and add more if needed)

Cut new potatoes in half

Add oil to skillet and when sizzling add onion.

After a few minutes add garlic.

When onions are softened add smoked paprika and Calabrian chiles and cook for 5 minutes.

Pour sauce over new potatoes and mix well.

1/2 teasp.

Pork Tenderloin with a Ginger Tomato Sauce (serves 4)

Pork Tenderloin with a Ginger Tomato Sauce (serves 4)

Tomato and basil, tomato and herbes de Provence, tomato and red pepper flakes – all good combinations. I hadn’t thought about putting tomato and ginger together. It went well with the pork (might make a good soup if diluted with more veg. broth/stock). Mashed potatoes needed to mop up juices!

1 x pork tenderloin – rolled in extra virgin olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/2 a large onion – chopped

1 large clove of garlic – finely chopped

2 x plum tomatoes – chopped into small pieces

1 tbsp. ginger – grated

1 tbsp. tomato paste

1/2 cups veg. broth/stock

Cook tenderloin – time will vary according to weight

Heat olive oil in a skillet and when sizzling add the onion.

After a few minutes add the garlic.

When onion is softened add rest of the ingredients, bring to boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

Process in food processor.

Slice pork tenderloin and pour over sauce.

Fennel, Orange and Olive Salad with an Orange Yuzu Dressing (serves 4)

Fennel, Orange and Olive Salad with an Orange Yuzu Dressing (serves 4)

A wonderfully light salad – orange and olives go well together as they balance each other. The dressing is tangy as the added yuzu sauce is a little tart. I imagine Yuzu Sauce is available in Japanese or Asian food stores but I ordered mine online as I didn’t have an Asian food store close to me. It can be used in desserts too. You can google it to see what it is all about.

I have been impressed by the book ‘It Was Me All Along’ by Andie Mitchell. It is the story of an obese young woman who knew she had to lose weight but it took her quite a while and quite a bit more weight gain before she could muster any kind of willpower to turn the situation around. Changing the kind of food she ate and portion size was important but she really was influenced by a semester abroad in Italy. She loved the food and tried everything but she managed to control her binge eating and to savor every mouthful and to take time over a meal. She lived near a food and flower market and taught herself to cook re-creating the local dishes she had tried. A very inspiring book.

I find that when I cook I get the same kind of pleasure – from creating the dish with care, to choosing interesting ingredients and often trying to replicate some dish I have tried and loved.

1 x head of fennel – sliced and chopped

1 large orange – cut into segments and chopped

8 pitted black olives – finely chopped

1 slice of red onion – finely chopped

Place all of these ingredients in a bowl and drizzle dressing over.

Dressing

Juice of 1/2 a large orange

1 teasp. Yuzu juice

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Mix all together and drizzle over the salad. There will be more than enough dressing so save the rest for another salad.

Mediterranean Frittata Wrapped in Proscuitto (makes 12 – muffin size)

Mediterranean Frittata Wrapped in Proscuitto (makes 12 – muffin size)

I had a lovely time in the kitchen today experimenting with these and they taste deliciously different. Will need to repeat as I need a thicker slice of prosciutto and am supposed to be giving a demonstration to a group of gals next week. Mine wouldn’t have won a prize for looks, but in an ideal world you would squish a slice or two of prosciutto into a muffin mould and hopefully have enough to fold over the egg mixture (if not don’t worry). Once this part is over the rest is easy. Saute some onion, take off heat and add chopped tomato and chopped black olives. When cool enough add six beaten eggs and mix. Then ladle on top of prosciutto and place in oven for about 20 minutes or until egg mixture is firm. Good, portable food and nice cold too. I am also going to make mini muffins minus the prosciutto for my next book club meeting.

You could put any number of different fillings for the muffins that you think would go well together – mushroom and spinach, tomato and spinach, etc. Could serve with a nice, tossed salad as this recipe is kind of quiche without pastry.

12 (or more) slices of prosciutto not to thinly sliced and with as much fat as possible removed.

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/2 an onion – finely chopped

1 large, ripe (essential) plum tomato – cut into 1/8ths and finely chopped

12 pitted black olives – finely chopped

6 eggs – beaten

Line muffin moulds with prosciutto.

Saute onion in olive oil seasoned with freshly ground black pepper (olives provide the salt)

Remove onion from heat and let skillet cool.

Whisk eggs and add chopped tomato, olives and cooled onions.

Ladle into muffin moulds and cook for around 20 minutes.