Chicken Mango Salad

Perfect for lunch or a light dinner on a summer’s day. Sweet mango, sour lemon, tangy Blue cheese, salty crunchy cashews, smooth avocado, and chicken for protein. All on a bed of organic baby lettuce and baby spinach.

with cashews

Ingredients: makes 2 salads

  • Several handfuls of baby spinach-baby lettuce mix per plate
  • 1/2 cup shredded roasted chicken
  • 1 Manila mango or 1/2 Tommy Atkins mango, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 large Haas avocado, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 Tb blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup roasted, salted cashews (can substitute peanuts or pistachios)
  • Juice of 1/2 large lemon
  • A few shakes Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Directions:

without cashews

Put lettuce-spinach mix on plates. Arrange chicken, mango, and avocado pieces evenly around the top of the greens.

Sprinkle blue cheese and cashews on top. Squeeze the lemon and sprinkle with Kosher salt on the salad. Drizzle olive oil over the salad. Toss to combine. Enjoy!

 

 

Papaya and Salmon Spinach Salad

IMG_1532I’ve been buying an extra half pound of salmon so that we can make salmon salad with the leftovers. Coho salmon is really the best and has few bones, even in the center cut.

jicama

This recipe is made with produce that is common is Mexican cuisine . The jicama looks like a pointy potato, but is a bit sweet and crunchy inside.

The citrus dressing is a nice contrast to the sweet papaya, and has a little kick from Habanero salsa and ginger. I thought of adding the cilantro after we ate it, so I’ll have to wait until next time to retake the picture with it.

papaya

Ingredients: Serves 2

  • Several handfuls of clean baby spinach, long stems discarded
  • About 1/3 cup sliced jicama
  • 1/2 small papaya, sliced into bite sized pieces
  • 1/4 medium avocado, sliced
  • 1/3 cup of toasted pepitas
  • About 1 Tb cilantro leaves

Dressing

  • 3 Tb juice from 1/2 medium lemon and 1 lime
  • 1 Tb cold water
  • 3 drops Habanero salsa (That’s hot enough for my taste but you are welcome to add more if desired.)
  • 1/4 tsp finely grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tb olive oil

Directions: 

Make dressing: Combine all ingredients except oil in a jar and shake well. Add oil and shake well to emulsify.

toasted pepitas

Toast the pepitas (Green pumpkin seeds): Preheat oven to 350′ Measure 1/3 cup of pepitas in a bowl. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp water on them and mix in. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp salt and stir well. Spread on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes until pepitas are light brown. Cool on a rack.

saladPlace baby spinach on plates, removing the long stems. Slice papaya, avocado and jicama and place on top of spinach.

Place cold salmon on top. Dress with citrus-ginger dressing. Sprinkle toasted pepitas on top.

 

 

 

Ground Turkey Tostadas and Tacos Filling

turkey filling

Ground turkey makes a lighter and healthier filling than ground beef for tostadas and tacos. Even  low-fat ground turkey becomes moist and flavorful with the addition of tomatoes, salsa, and spices.

I browned the entire pound package and added a whole onion, and doubled the salt. I then saved half of the meat mixture for Baked Ziti or other Italian meat sauce.

These seasonings are at  the low end of the spicy scale, so season to your taste.

Ingredients: Makes approximately 8 – 10 tostadas or tacos

  • 2 Tb olive oil
  • 1/2 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 onion, chopped finely
  • teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced and chopped
  • A few shakes red pepper flakes
  • A few grinds of black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp of chipotle or other chili powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 Roma tomato, chopped
  • 2 Tb salsa chipotle or salsa Mexicana
  • 1/4 cup water or broth

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan until it shimmers. Place turkey on the oil and let it sit about 5 minutes or so until it browns. Turn it over and let it brown on the other side a few minutes, then use a metal spatula to break it up. Add the chopped onion and salt, and continue breaking up the turkey. Cover the pan and turn the heat to simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in garlic and seasonings, the tomato, salsa and water or broth. Cook for about 10 minutes until the liquid is absorbed but turkey is not too dry.

Spread the tostada shell with frijoles pintos, then with the turkey. Top with lettuce, cilantro, tomato, avocado, radishes and black olives (halved so they won’t roll off the tostada!) and salsa if desired. Tacos pretty much the same, except with heated tortillas.

tostadas with ground turkey filling

Apple Strudel in Phyllo Dough

sugared strudelPhyllo (sometimes spelled filo) means leaf in Greek and the sheets of dough are as thin as leaves. I buy it frozen in Middle Eastern markets and if I’m lucky it also shows up in Berkeley Bowl and other large markets. I use it to make Spanakopita, and there’s usually enough leftover sheets to make Apple Strudel for dessert. I caramelize the apples before rolling them in the phyllo dough.

Ingredients: (makes 3 rolls)

  • 3 medium apples (Gala or other cooking apples are good)
  • 6 Tb butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tb cinnamon
  • 2 tsp lemon zest, from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tb bread crumbs or 2 slices of toast, torn into pieces
  • 1/3 – 1/2 package phyllo dough (9 sheets), defrosted
  • 1 Tb powdered sugar with a few shakes of cinnamon for topping if desired

Directions: Preheat oven to 375′

Peel and core apples and chop them finely.

If you don’t have breadcrumbs,  place the torn toast in the blender. Run on high and you will have made breadcrumbs! Divide them in half.

apples for strudel

Melt butter in a large skillet. Pour out 1/4 cup and set aside. Add apples to the skillet and stir until they are coated. Stir in cinnamon and brown sugar and cook until the liquid is thick and sticky. Stir in 1/2 the breadcrumbs, pecans, lemon juice and zest. Remove from heat.

Divide the remaining breadcrumbs into 3 groups.

breadcrumbs on phylloPlace 1 sheet of phyllo on a pastry board or clean surface. Lightly brush with melted butter. (If the butter has thickened, reheat it in the microwave.) Place another sheet and repeat, and then a third sheet. Sprinkle 1/3 of the breadcrumbs in a rectangle at about 2 inches from the sides and top.

filling in phylloScoop 1/3 of the apple mixture and spread on top of the breadcrumbs. Fold the top and sides over. Then roll it up by folding it over the apple filling.

strudel rolled up and ready for oven

Brush the butter over the sealed bottom and place it on a parchment lined baking sheet. Butter the top and sprinkle a little cinnamon on it.

Let bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack before slicing. You can sift a little powdered sugar with a dash of cinnamon on top just before serving.

 

 

 

 

Chinese-style Braised Eggplant with fresh Basil

serving new

Braised eggplant is one of my favorite Chinese dishes. Our favorite restaurant, King Yen in Berkeley, serves it fragrant with fresh basil. I picked up the veggies from the farmer’s market: long Asian eggplants, mushrooms, with fresh basil, red bell peppers and green onions (scallions) for color.

I added a chicken breast for more protein. If you have leftover roasted breast you can chop it in bite sized pieces and add it in with the basil.

Vegetarians and vegans can omit the chicken (or swap it for tofu, adding it when you add the basil) and use vegetable broth.

I only add a teaspoon of Sriracha because I can’t handle much heat, but feel free to amp it up, adding it at the end to taste.

This is even better the next day, when the basil has a chance to permeate the dish.

Be sure to do all the chopping and sauces prep before you start to cook so you’re not all stressed out while you’re cooking!

Serves 4

ingredients new pix.jpg

Ingredients

2 Tb canola oil for frying

1 Chicken breast, about 3/4 pound

1 pound Chinese eggplants (3 long skinny ones)

8 medium mushrooms (crimini or white)

1 medium or 2 small red or yellow bell peppers

2″ piece of fresh ginger to make 1 Tb grated ginger

5 large cloves of garlic to make 1 Tb thinly sliced garlic

2 green onions (scallions). You can mince a slice of regular yellow onion to make 2 Tb if you don’t have green onions.

1/2 bunch fresh Thai or regular basil to make 1 1/2 cups basil leaves

1 can water chestnuts

Sauce:

sauces

3/4 cup chicken broth (I use Roz’s Jewish Chicken Soup )

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice wine

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons sesame oil

2 teaspoons hoisin sauce

1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce (add more for more heat)

Thickener:

4 teaspoons (1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon) water

2 teaspoons cornstarch

Prep:

ginger n garlicPeel and grate ginger to make 1 Tablespoon

Peel and thinly slice garlic to make 1 Tablespoon

Trim woody ends from mushroom stems, then quarter.

red bell pepper and scallions

Slice red peppers into strips

Slice green onions crosswise. Mince the green parts and reserve for garnish.

cut eggplant

Chop eggplant at angles into uneven bite-sized pieces. This will help prevent it from sticking to the pan.

Rinse water chestnuts and chop them into halves

Chop chicken breast into bite-sized pieces

Mix sauce ingredients together in a bowl

Pull leaves off of basil stems to make 1 1/2 cups of leaves

Directions:

chicken and peppers and scallions

Heat wok on high and add oil. Stir-fry chicken a few minutes to sear it, then toss with onions and red bell peppers.

beginning to cook

Add the rest of the chopped vegetables and water chestnuts and stir-fry a few minutes over high heat.

Mix in ginger and garlic with metal spatula to incorporate browned bits of chicken. Pour in the sauce and toss the vegetables to coat. Lower heat and cover wok. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure that vegetables are submerged.

cooking with basilStir in the basil leaves and continue simmering covered for another 3 minutes until eggplant is thoroughly cooked and tender.

finished cooking

Stir in the thickener and bring sauce to a boil until it thickens

Serve over brown rice or on its own. Garnish with a few basil leaves and green onions.

 

Hurray for the Red White and Blueberry Shortcake!

berries shortcakePerfect for Independence Day* dessert! I kept the sugar low, but the fat content is, well it is what it is, but the fresh berries make up for all that cream, right?

The shortcake recipe is based on my Light as a Feather Cream Biscuits. I added vanilla, a couple of spoonfuls of sugar, and a tad of nutmeg to complement the berries. Buy a pint of cream to make the shortcakes, and softly whip the remaining 1/2 cup to top them.

*4th of July in USA, and or any country whose flag is red, white and blue.

Shortcakes:  Makes 5 or 6 large shortcakes

2 cups flour

1  Tb baking powder

1/4 tsp salt (I use sea salt)

1/4 tsp nutmeg

2 Tb sugar

1 1/2 cups cold cream. I put it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before mixing it in the dough.

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 450′

Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl and stir in sugar. Add vanilla to the cream and pour it into the flour mixture. Slowly stir until the dough is shaggy. Turn it over a few times with your hands to gather up any flour into the dough.

Spray an insulated cookie sheet with nonstick spray. Grab a piece of dough the size of the biscuit you wish to make and quickly form it into circle with your hands. You don’t want to handle the dough too much, so the circle doesn’t need to be perfect.

Bake for 12 minutes, until biscuits are light brown. Keep the oven light on so you can keep an eye on them.

Let cool on a rack about 20 minutes.

Softly whip 1/2 cup cream with 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp sugar or maple syrup.

berriesRinse 1 pint each strawberries and blueberries. Organic berries are best, since conventionally grown berries contain a lot of pesticides. Cut tops off strawberries, then slice. Mix berries together in a bowl.

middle of shortcakeSplit shortcakes in half crosswise (top and bottom). Spread whipped cream on the center, cover with berries, then put a dab of whipped cream on the top and cover with more berries.

Tender Juicy Pan Fried Lemon Butter Salmon

salmon with sauceI’ve developed this cooking method through trial and error to make the most tender and juicy salmon. The secret is to fry the salmon skin side down. This makes the skin crispy enough to easily remove. The salmon develops a crusty exterior and tender interior.  I brush it with lemon butter and finish it with a wine reduction with lemon butter.

Coho wild salmon is a good choice, economically and ecologically.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 Tb olive oil, divided

1 pound salmon fillet

1/4 tsp sea salt

several grinds of black pepper

Sprinkle of dill weed

1 lemon to make 2 tsp lemon juice, plus lemon slices to garnish

1 Tb butter, melted

2 Tb Chardonnay or other dry white wine

Approximately 1 Tb sliced almonds to garnish

Directions:

Mix lemon and melted butter together and set aside.

Sprinkle fillet with 1 teaspoon olive oil, salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. Place salmon, skin side down, in the hot oil and turn stove to medium.

sprinkle dill weed
Sprinkle dill weed on salmon and cook for 3 minutes.

brush top with lemon butterBrush top with lemon butter. Flip salmon over.

remove fried skinRemove crispy skin using a metal spatula.

brush bottom with lemon butterBrush salmon bottom with more lemon butter. Cook for 2-4 minutes, depending on how well you like it cooked.

Flip salmon again so that the bottom gets a little brown, then put on a plate.

sprinkle saltSprinkle salmon with a tiny bit of sea salt.

wine reduction with lemon butterAdd 2 Tb white wine  to the pan and stir about a minute. Add remaining lemon butter to the wine reduction.

salmon with saucePour sauce over salmon.

Cut salmon in half to serve two people.

Garnish with a sprinkle of sliced almonds and a slice of lemon.

salmon with almonds and artichoke and lemon butterServe with steamed artichokes with lemon butter dip and a glass of Chardonnay

Caprese Fruit Salad

Caprese Fruit Salad

This is a delicious summer fruit salad masquerading as a caprese salad.

I got the idea when I visited the SF Giants Baseball Stadium (AT &T Park) Organic Garden with our CHEFS students. After the garden tour, they gave each of us a delicious strawberry wrapped in a basil leaf.

Cut summer fruit: Strawberries, stone fruit such as plums, apricots and /or peaches. Mix in ciliegine, little balls of fresh mozzarella. Tear basil leaves and sprinkle over the fruit and mozzarella. Drizzle a little olive oil over the fruit and cheese.

caprese fruit appetizers

Make caprese salad appetizers by threading a piece of fruit, basil and half a ciliegine on a toothpick. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. I mixed in a bit of blood orange infused olive oil with the regular oil.

 

Making a Pesto Myself with Mushrooms

serving pesto

What’s better than pesto on pasta? Pesto with sauteed mushrooms on pasta!

I made the pesto, and then sauteed the mushrooms in olive oil. I used oyster mushrooms, ’cause that’s what I had in the house, but you can experiment making this with different types of mild flavored mushrooms. When the mushrooms are soft, stir the pesto into the mushrooms and serve over pasta. I used brown rice penne in the picture above and it worked great.

Heat a large pot of water until boiling fast. Add 1 tsp salt, 1/2 pound pasta, and 1 tsp olive oil. Cook until al dente. While heating water and cooking pasta, make the pesto and mushrooms.

Pesto:

1 small clove garlic

1 bunch fresh whole basil leaves, thick stems discarded (I got mine for $1 at the San Francisco Civic Center Farmer’s Market)

1 bunch curly parsley, thick stems discarded

¼ cup pine nuts

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

½ tsp sea salt

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup cooking water from pasta

Pulse garlic in a food processor until finely minced. Add all ingredients except oil and pulse until fine. While processor is running, drizzle in oil and cooking water and pulse until almost smooth.

cooked mushrooms

Rinse 1/2 pound mushrooms and chop roughly. Heat 1 Tb olive oil in a frying pan and add mushrooms. Sprinkle with a few shakes sea salt and saute until soft.

pesto mixed with mushrooms

When mushrooms are cooked, stir in pesto

Mix cooked pasta with mushroom-pesto.

 

 

 

 

Hanukkah and Christmas Orange-Nutty Cookies

Chanukah and Christmas Cookies on plate

This mufti-denominational cookie is based on my mom’s Hanukkah cookie recipe. I added some grated orange zest to heighten the fruity notes. The nuts are optional, but I love the crunch of nuts in cookies.

You can soften the butter in the microwave for about 10 seconds if you forgot to leave it out to soften! Crush nuts by pulsing in the food processor or rolling them with a rolling pin as my mom did. They should be tiny, but not pulverized into powder.

Makes about 30 cookies, depending on the size of your cookie cutters.

Ingredients:

1 cube butter

1 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 Tb orange juice

1/4 tsp finely grated orange zest (the orange part of the peel)

2 eggs

3 cups all purpose unbleached flour

1/8 tsp salt (or a couple of shakes)

2 tsp baking powder

½ cup crushed walnuts and/ or pecans

1-2 tsp Demura sugar (coarse sugar)

Cream butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Add orange juice and zest and beat again.

Sift dry ingredients together and then mix until combined with the moist ingredients. Stir in nuts until incorporated into the dough.

???????????????????????????????Roll the dough into a large ball, then flatten into a disk with your hands. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for ½ hour. This will harden the butter and make the dough easier to roll.

Preheat the oven to 375◦.

Image

Lightly flour a wooden board and the rolling pin. Grab a few handfuls of dough and roll it out to about 1/8 inch. Dip cookie cutters in flour, then shake out, to prevent the dough from sticking on them, and then cut out shapes.

Spray an insulated cookie sheet with nonstick spray or oil the sheet. Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to the cookie sheet. Sprinkle cookies with a pinch of demura sugar to make them sparkle. Bake the cookies at 375◦ for about 10 minutes until golden. Cool on a rack and store in an airtight container.

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