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.

 

 

 

Nearly Niçoise Tuna Salad

Tuna nicoise

This French salad (Niçoise means from Nice, France) is a far cry from the mayonnaise-drenched tuna and celery salad of my childhood. Traditionally it’s served with anchovies and I’ve had a fancy version made with seared sushi grade tuna. This is my “shelter-in-place” version, made from what’s left in my pantry and fridge a week and half since I braved the grocery store. The eggs are cooked a minute beyond “jammy.” This was enough for a nice lunch with my husband, still tasty if not altogether authentic.

Salad ingredients: (serves 2)

5 oz can tuna in olive oil

Iced water (half ice water and half crushed ice) in a bowl

2 eggs

1 tsp Kosher salt

a couple of handfuls of fresh or frozen green beans (You can get fancy French with skinny haricot verts)

1 medium white or red potato

2 bay leaves

Several grinds black pepper

A couple of handfuls of spring salad mix

A handful of mini cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes

10 salty olives. I had Manzanillas on hand (a packet from Trader Joe’s)

A few pieces of avocado if you like

Dressing ingredients:

2 Tb lemon juice

1 Tb water

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp dried tarragon

1/4 tsp dried dill weed

Pinch of Kosher salt

Several grinds black pepper

3 Tb Olive oil (EVOO is best)

Oil drained from tuna can

Directions:

Place can of tuna in the refrigerator right before you start to cook.

Have a bowlful of iced water ready.

Boil salted water in a medium saucepan (It should come up 2/3 of the way.) Gently place the eggs in the water using a slotted spoon. Lower heat to medium so the water is boiling gently. Cover pot and cook for 7 -8 minutes. Remove eggs from pot and place in iced water.

Put a couple of handfuls of green beans in the boiling water. Cook uncovered for about 4 minutes, until they are bright green. Fish out the green beans with the slotted spoon and place in the iced water, adding more ice.

Add a bay leaf or two and a couple of grinds of black pepper to the boiling water. Stab the potato a few times and lower into the water. Cook, covered for about 18 minutes, or until potato is fork-tender but still firm.

Remove green beans and eggs from the iced water and put in the potato. Place the green beans on a paper towel to drain. Peel the eggs, starting at the flat end where the air pocket is, which makes so much easier! Rinse them, then cut in half crosswise. Remove the potato from the iced water when it’s cool enough to handle and gently peel it by hand, then cut into bite-sized pieces.

Make Dressing: 

Whisk together lemon juice, water, mustard, tarragon, dill, salt and pepper. Drizzle in olive oil while whisking. Open tuna fish can and drain oil into the dressing and whisk well until emulsified. (The mustard helps with the emulsification.) You can also do this in a blender.

Put salad greens on plates and place tuna in the middle of each plate on top of the greens. Place eggs, potatoes, and green beans each in its own area around the tuna. Scatter the olives, tomatoes, and avocado over the salad. Generously pour dressing over the salad.

Bon appétit!

Gingery Yam – Carrot – Coconut Soup

in bowlHandle this soup gingerly.  The spices in this delicious soup make it a perfect Fall warm-up and it’s chock-full of vitamin A. I made mine with Roz’s Jewish Chicken Soup, but you can use vegetable broth for a vegan version.

ingredients.jpgIngredients:

4 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 large yam, peeled and chopped

3 large carrots, peeled and chopped

1/2 yellow onion, peeled and chopped

1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced

5- inch piece of ginger peeled and thinly sliced

1 tsp curry powder

1/4 tsp cumin powder

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp salt to taste

a few shakes cayenne to taste

a few shakes pumpkin pie spice

13.5 oz can low fat coconut milk

chopped yam and carrotsHeat broth to boiling. Peel and chop yam, carrots, onion, ginger and garlic and stir into broth. Let come to a boil and turn to simmer.

IMG_0077.JPG

Cover pot and cook for 20 minutes until vegetables are soft. Cool for about 20 minutes or overnight.

in pot

Pour into a blender and blend in batches until smooth. Add coconut milk to the last batch, reserving a spoonful or two of the cream for garnish. Adjust salt to taste.

in bowlServe with a bit of coconut cream swirled in.

 

Roasted Mushroom Barley Soup with Chicken Stock or Vegetable Broth

I made a simpler version of my roasted mushroom barley soup with rich chicken stock instead of beef broth and a mixture of fresh and dried mushrooms. I used Roz’s Jewish Chicken Soup made with double the amount of bones and drippings. I save the bones and drippings from roast chicken in a container in the freezer, then boil them with the vegetables and herbs to create a rich broth. After letting it sit long enough for the fat to solidify, I spoon out the fat, leaving a spoonful for flavor. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan you can substitute Vegetable Broth

I use a variety of dried mushrooms, including porcini, shiitake, and chanterelle. I soak them in warm water for ten minutes, then chop them and add to the broth, along with the soaking liquid.

roasted mushrooms

Roasted fresh Crimini mushrooms make the bulk of the mushrooms in the soup. These brown mushrooms are a more mature version of the common white mushroom, so you can sub white mushrooms if you can’t find criminis in your grocery store.

I roasted fresh shiitake, king and oyster mushrooms. They stand up to roasting and add a variety of flavors and textures. You may be able to find them at your farmer’s market in the fall. You don’t need to buy too many of these more expensive but flavorful mushrooms. Feel free to mix up the mushrooms as you find them. King mushrooms can make some good food porn too, if your tastes run that kinky!

King and Oyster mushrooms

Ingredients

6 cups chicken broth

½ cup pearl barley

1 tsp dried thyme

1/2  tsp white pepper

several grinds black pepper

3 – 4 Tb olive oil

1 lb crimini (brown) mushrooms

6 fresh shiitake mushrooms

1 fresh King mushroom

5 fresh oyster mushrooms

4 dried shiitake mushrooms

5 dried porcini mushrooms

5 dried chanterelle mushrooms

3 Tbs dry sherry

1 tsp salt, to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bring broth to boil in a large pot over high heat.

While waiting for the broth to boil, soak the dried mushrooms in enough water to cover them by 2 inches.

Rinse and gently scrub the fresh mushrooms with a wet paper towel or mushroom brush and let them dry over paper towels.

When broth is boiling, Stir in barley, thyme and pepper.

Place fresh mushrooms in a roasting pan and toss with olive oil. until they are coated on all sides. Roast for 20 minutes. When they are done, let cool, then ladle a few cups broth over them, then remove the mushrooms to a cutting board and pour back the extra broth.  Chop the mushrooms roughly and stir them into the broth.

chopped soaked dried mushroomsRemove the dried mushrooms from the soaking liquid onto a cutting board. Dice them, then add to the soup along with the soaking liquid.

Simmer  the soup for 30 minutes. Correct seasonings, stir sherry in and salt to taste.

serve.jpg

Serve the pearl barley inside the oyster mushrooms for good luck!

 

 

Cheesy True Grits

Cheesy grits with fried eggs

These creamy, cheesy grits make an easy, perfect breakfast topped with fried eggs. The melting quality of Gouda or Gruyere cheese marries the flavor of sharp cheddar in a perfect match. You can also sub half a cup of Trader Joe’s melange of Gruyere and Cheddar cheese. Unlike many Southern recipes, this California girl adds no cream and just a smidgen of butter.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

grits box

cheese

2 cups water

A few shakes salt (I use sea salt)

1 tsp butter

1/2 cup quick cooking hominy grits

1/2 cup of Trader Joe’s Melange cheese (made of Gruyere and cheddar)

OR

1/4 cup (2 oz) grated sharp cheddar cheese

1/4 cup (2 oz) grated Gruyere or Gouda cheese  (2 small rounds of Gouda)

Directions

Bring salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Slowly whisk in grits. Turn burner to low, cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in butter and cheese until they melt. Cover pot while you fry the eggs.

Fried eggs:

Warm eggs in a large pot of hot water for 10 minutes. Or even better, leave them out overnight. Melt a teaspoon of butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Break eggs into pan and let them cook over medium heat until the whites begin to harden on the edges. Lift the edges in a few places and pour in a spoonful of warm water underneath them. This makes the whites more tender. Cook until the whites are opaque. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.

Poached Eggs: I used Alton Brown’s method: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/perfect-poached-eggs-recipe/how-to-make-poached-eggs-like-alton-brown

Heat about 1 inch water in a non stick frying pan. Add 2 tsp vinegar and 1 tsp Kosher (or regular) salt and stir well. Break cold eggs into separate ramekins or teacups. Gently pour each egg in separate parts of the pan. Turn off heat and cover pan. Set timer for 5 minutes for eggs with a liquid yolk, or 7 minutes for a soft yolk. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain.

Pour the cheesy grits in a cereal bowl and gently place the eggs on top. Stir and enjoy.

poached eggs on cheesy grits

 

Black Beans with Yams

serving black beans and yamsSlow cooked black beans brightened by chunks of yams in a rich, slightly chocolaty sauce will warm your winter chill. Thanks to CHEFS student Maria for inspiring this recipe from her vegetarian chili.

Ingredients:

1 Tb olive oil

1 onion, roughly chopped

1 green bell pepper, roughly chopped, seeds and ribs discarded

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 pound (2 cups) dried black beans

8 cups cold water

1 Tb cumin

1/4 tsp ancho chili powder. Add more if you like spicy beans.

1 tsp cocoa powder

1 tsp oregano

3 large Diane yams, peeled, thickly sliced and roughly chopped into bite sized pieces

about 1 Tb salt. Add a bit at a time until it’s to taste

Instructions:

Fry onions and bell pepper in olive oil until the skin begins to char. Add garlic and fry for a minute more. Remove from heat.

Rinse beans and discard imperfect ones. Add to cold water in a large pot. Stir in seasonings and bring to a boil and let boil for 5 minutes. Add fried vegetables and chopped yams to water and bring to boil again. Pour contents of pot into a slow cooker. Add more water if needed to cover the beans. Set cooker on low and cook all day or all night, depending on whether you start in the morning or evening. It could take at least 8 hours until the beans are soft. Salt to taste, stirring in salt a bit at a time. Freezes well.

 

Crab salad with Autumn Fruit

crab-salad-with-legsIn November, the SF Bay Area celebrates the opening of Dungeness Crab season. These sweet crustaceans are all they’re cracked up to be. Paired with bright pomegranate seeds, tangy tangerines, and sweet, crunchy Fuyu persimmons atop a bed of lettuce, and sprinkled simply with lemon juice, they make a perfect late autumn meal.

I’m a bit squeamish about cooking the live crab, and clueless about cracking and cleaning it, so I took the easy way out when my fishmonger asked me if I’d like to have him crack the cooked crab.  You can look that part up on the internet. I got the 2.3 lb crab for $9.70 at Berkeley Bowl. It was enough for my husband and me. The next time I made it for a crowd as part of a potluck and shredded the crab.

fruit-and-crabIngredients: (serves 2)

2.3 lb crab (or thereabouts, depending on how hungry you are)

1 pomegranate

2 large seedless tangerines

3 medium Fuyu persimmons (the hard, flat-bottomed persimmons)

3 heads of Romaine lettuce, outer leaves removed (or substitute the lettuce of your choice)

1 tsp lemon juice, plus more to squeeze.

Rinse all produce. Tear lettuce into bite sized pieces and place on a plate. Seed the pomegranate, discarding the bitter white portion. Peel tangerines and separate into sections. Cut persimmons into bite sized pieces, removing large seeds if present (some have seeds, others are seedless). No need to peel them. Arrange the fruit on the lettuce and squeeze lemon juice on it.

You can serve the crab legs atop the salad for a meal. For a side salad, remove the meat from legs and center of crab and shred it on the salad. If desired, squeeze more lemon juice on the crab.

unnamed

 

Chunky Kabocha Soup with Appeal

chunky-kabocha-soup-with-appeal

Kabocha squash has a delicious green peel.  My friend Randi turned me on to kabocha soup with chunks of squash with the peel. We cut it up and roasted it with the peel immersed in a 1/2 inch water bath until it was tender. This recipe can be made vegan with vegetable stock.

Makes about 1 gallon.

Ingredients:

dsc03294

1 medium kabocha squash

1 small piece of ginger root, grated to make 2 tsp (more if you really like it gingery)

2 teaspoons coconut oil, divided

14 oz. can coconut milk

1 quart (4 cups) broth (chicken or vegetable stock)

a few grinds black pepper

1 tsp salt to taste

about 1/4 cup of roasted green pumpkin seeds (pepitas) for garnish

Preheat oven to 350′

cutting-stem-off-kabochaRinse off Kabocha and dry with paper towel. Cut off the stem.

Cut the squash in half and remove seeds. Cut squash into about 16 pieces. cut-kabocha-in-water-bathPlace in 8″ x 11″ x 2″ pan and fill pan with 1/2 inch water.

Sprinkle with 1 tsp melted coconut oil.

Roast for 45 minutes until squash is tender.

Let cool, then cut into bite-sized pieces.

While squash is cooling, grate ginger, discarding fibrous part. Saute it in 1 tsp coconut oil in a gallon size heavy pot.

After a minute, add broth and coconut milk and bring to a boil.

bite-sized-pieces-of-squashAdd the small pieces of squash to the broth. Stir in pepper.

Bring to a boil, then simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up the softened squash into the broth. Add salt to taste.

Serve topped with roasted pepitas.

Heirloom Tomato and Watermelon Salad

watermelon heirloom tomato wholeNothing says summer like watermelon and heirloom tomatoes, those oddly-shaped multicolored orbs, bursting with flavor. Cut them up and you have a veritable painting on your plate. Mix with sweet watermelon and sprinkle a little salt, maybe a few drops of extra virgin olive oil on the tomatoes. Simple. That’s it!

watermelon heirloom tomato salad

Quinoa Tabouli

quinoa tabouliA dressed up tabouli made with protein rich quinoa instead of the traditional Bulgar wheat makes a delicious low-carb summer meal. I based my recipe on Mollie Katzen’s Bulgar wheat one in the classic moosewood cookbook  and added lots of extras like artichoke hearts, pine nuts and feta cheese.

Make the quinoa ahead of time and stir in the olive oil and lemon. Then refrigerate until cold. I used a food processor to mince the green onions, mint, parsley and artichoke hearts.  I learned the hard way not to use it for the cucumbers or red peppers (it got mushy) Just take out the sharp knife and chop chop!

Makes 10 cups

Ingredients

Tabouli ingredients

1 cup dry quinoa. You can use white or red

2 cups water

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 large or 2 medium lemons)

3 Tb high quality extra virgin olive oil

1 Tb garlic infused olive oil

 

1 bunch parsley -approximately 4 cups leaves makes 1 cup minced leaves

4 scallions, both white and green parts

3 sprigs fresh mint leaves (about 15 leaves)

3 medium tomatoes. I used dry-farmed tomatoes for outstanding flavor

1 red bell pepper

3 pickling cucumbers, peeled and seeds removed

1 avocado

14 ounce can artichoke hearts in water, drained and rinsed

15 ounce can garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained and rinsed

1/3 cup pine nuts

1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

Rinse quinoa well under cold water, rubbing the seeds between your hands. Drain quinoa for a few minutes, then add water and salt and bring to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat, cover and cook for about 25 minutes. It will make 3 cups cooked quinoa. You can also make it in a rice cooker using the white rice setting.

Transfer quinoa to a large bowl or container. Whisk together lemon juice and olive oils in a small bowl, then stir into the quinoa. Let it cool and refrigerate until cold.

Using the blade in the food processor, mince green onions, mint, parsley and artichoke hearts until feathery. Stir into cooled quinoa.

Dice red bell pepper, cucumbers, tomatoes and avocado and stir into quinoa along with garbanzo beans.

Serve cold, sprinkled with feta cheese and pine nuts.

tabouli with quinoa